By Isabelle Rayburn
Halloween is coming up, what is a better way to celebrate than a concert? The dynamic rap duo “Earthgang” is coming to shake things up in Fort Collins for their “Mirrorland” college tour. Earthgang’s show starts at eight o’clock on October 31 at Hodi’s Half Note. Ticket prices are around $40 for general admission.
According to the September issue of Pitchfork Review, “EarthGang, an ATL duo comprised of rappers Olu (also known as Johnny Venus) and WowGr8 (also known as Doctur Dot), founders of the wide-ranging Spillage Village collective that includes J.I.D., 6LACK, Mereba, Lute, and more. Their debut album, Mirrorland, released on the heels of their Dreamville label’s touted compilation Revenge of the Dreamers III, longs to be a black world unto itself.”
Earthgang first formed in 2008 while they were both still in high school. The Atlanta-based rappers made their musical debut with their first EP, “The Better Party.” which comprised 12 tracks and are signed to the label Dreamville Records, who represent the famous rappers J. Cole and J.I.D.
Earthgang plays three shows in Colorado, Boulder, Colorado Springs, and Fort Collins performing their newly dropped album, “Mirrorland.” “Mirrorland dropped on September 6th, 2019, inspired by The Wiz, the all-black 1978 adaptation of The Wizard of Oz featuring music produced by Quincy Jones for Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, and Lena Horne. “Atlanta is the Land of Oz,” Olu told Pitchfork in July. “It’s black people just being unafraid and unapologetically creative. Just running around being themselves.”
Earthgang have opened for many well-known rappers such as Kendrick Lamar and Smino. Their style may sound like some rappers who you have heard before. “The comparison between EarthGang and Outkast is almost too convenient.” according to an October 18 article in the Washington Post. “There’s only one André 3000 and one Big Boi; Outkast remains one of hip-hop’s greatest acts. But at the same time, WowGr8 (a.k.a. Doctur Dot) and Olu (a.k.a. Johnny Venus) is making it clear that there’s only one EarthGang, too.”
They are not just rappers; they also stand up for what they believe in. According to the Pitchfork review of Mirrorland, “They’ve spoken out against abortion restrictions, set up voter-registration tables at their concerts, denounced racism, sexism and overblown egos.” The Washington Post article said. “When performing their hypnotizing 2015 song “Missed Calls,” they incorporated the hook from YG and the late Nipsey Hussle’s “FDT,” with its scathing message aimed at the current president, into the chorus.”
Earthgang challenges the status quo within their music. “The album certainly has the whimsy and spectacle of a musical, and it’s clear Olu and WowGr8 consider themselves unapologetically creative, too,” says the Pitchfork review. “but there is the sense that this is less about them and more about honoring that down-home creative spark. The music is theatrical as if they are donning personas and performing bits, paying homage to the many types of people they encounter, and the place that produces them. The scope of Mirrorland is wide enough to capture the inexhaustible magic of Atlanta.”
“EarthGang’s album isn’t 2D; it’s multidimensional—a marauder’s map of Atlanta as a black paradise.” (Pitchfork review, Sep. 14, 2019.)